Yes, it's time for that great activity, a Hypothetical Question.
I dropped this one into an It's Walky thread, and it received such a reaction that I wanted to see the kind of answers that it would yield here.
This scenario is based off of a hypothetical question exercise that I did in school many years ago.
To head off the language lawyers and armchair scientists that popped up in It's Walky: a hypothetical scenario is just that. No matter how unlikely it would be in the real world, you MUST consider everything mentioned to be a factor. "Something WILL happen" means that the something has a 90-100 percent probability of happening. "Something will PROBABLY happen" means it has an over 50 percent chance of happening. You are not allowed to say "That can't happen, probability zero percent."
Anybody who saw it in It's Walky may notice I've made some changes, as points brought up by forumers reminded me of things I had forgotten in the first posting.
Here we go!
Scenario: You are on an intercontinental flight, when the plane suffers a catastrophic failure and crashes into the ocean, stranding you and several survivors. (lucky you, you managed to find a small sand atoll)
The survivors include:
--You (duh. Picture...yourself.)
--A surgeon, who was being shuttled to the plane's next stop in order to perform a complex organ transplant that he is the world's best at. Without him, the patient(who you know nothing about) will probably die within hours. Of course, he's kept his first aid skills sharp as well, and stabilized the rest of the survivors' injuries.
--A nuclear physicist, who was on her way to Japan to stabilize a nuclear reactor there. If she's not in Japan within 12 hours, the reactor will probably go supercritical, melt down, and irradiate much of Japan. Japan being as crowded as it is, thousands would suffer radiation poisoning.
--An old man with severe internal hemorraghing. He's been stabilized for now, but the surgeon says that if he doesn't get to a full-fledged hospital quickly, he will die.
--A mother and child, but with a twist: the child is a minor but is also suffering from severe psychosis. The medicine required to keep the child from going absolutely batshit insane is...on the bottom of the ocean, along with the rest of the plane. (when the meds run out, the child is known to have violent episodes, lashing out at anybody in reach.) Of course, any decent pharmacy in a major city will have more.
A Coast Guard helicopter finds you in a timely manner, but there's a problem: the chopper is only a scout. The other choppers are off on other missions and cannot be rerouted to you, but he's got a cutter on the way.
That cutter is hours away, and covers distance at a pitiful fraction of the speed of an aircraft. All told, the chopper could get back to its base in two hours--the cutter would take 15. At the base, of course, the Coast Guard would have a nice selection of fixed-wing aircraft, a full military hospital, and basically anything else you'd want. (with the obvious exception of another helicopter)
The good news: the helicopter DOES have the ability to make a touch-and-go landing and take on ONE passenger.
Oh...did I forget that the helicopter is also approaching bingo fuel? You've got five minutes to decide who gets on the chopper, before he lifts off again--if nobody's on board when he starts his lift, he leaves you ALL behind for the boat.
What do you do?
(on a related note, you ever notice how large aircraft tend to have a bad case of "Titanic Syndrome"? Ever look at the Safety Card and count how many life rafts one of those appears to have, compared to its passenger load?)